The Bachelor


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October 22, 2016

A rendering of proposed replacement building

October 22, 2016

Photo credit: PRS Supporters


329 Franklin Street, Buffalo, NY 14202


  • Ellicott Development.

Physical Description

  • DEMOLISHED October 22, 2016
  • Four story, 10,400 sq.ft. brick commercial building on a corner parcel. See SHPO nomination letter in History for details.

Current Condition

  • DEMOLISHED October 22, 2016
  • Formerly in use as a 12 unit apartment building. Exterior facade appeared original but painted, and rectangular vinyl windows didn't match original window openings.


  • 1886 - Designed by Green & Wicks as a luxury apartment called "The Bachelor"
  • Chris Hawley: "The Bachelor...sold itself under the headline: 'When a man's single he lives at his ease.' It is the oldest Green-designed building downtown and one of the oldest apartment buildings in Buffalo."
  • From the nomination letter to SHPO:
  • The Bachelor Apartments, located at 331 Franklin Street, is a four story brick and stone apartment building constructed in 1886. Based on the information provided, the building appears to meet Criterion A in the area of Social History as one of the earliest constructed purpose-built apartment buildings in Buffalo, possibly the oldest surviving such building in the city, and as a rare surviving example of an apartment building built exclusively for bachelor tenants. It also appears to meet Criterion C in the area of Architecture as an intact example of bachelor apartment construction. The period of significance is 1886-1930 when rapid economic growth brought large numbers of young single professional men to the city of Buffalo in need of housing. This period encompasses all major significant architectural alterations to the building, and represents the era in which the building was most associated with use by bachelors.
  • By 1930 the Bachelor became the Berkeley Arms and its marketing as a bachelor building came to an end. Built for the James N. Metcalf Estate, it was designed by Green & Wicks, the preeminent Buffalo architectural firm, and is one of their earliest remaining buildings. The building is four stories tall and nearly square in form, with a chamfered corner facing the intersection with a single window on each story. It is constructed of red brick with Medina sandstone trim. While the original large storefront openings are intact the original windows have been replaced with modern windows. Between the first and second stories there is a sandstone lintel course topped with a fine brick dentil molding. Above the fourth story is a brick row of shallow dentils surmounted by a small molded dentil cornice topped by a smaller cornice punctuated by short chimneys. The fenestration of the second, third and fourth floors are irregular with the north and west elevations featuring different parring or spacing of segmental and rounded arch windows. The original windows have been replaced by vinyl. The south and east elevations have no details and a few small segmental arch windows. All facades have been painted grey and red and there is a metal fire escape on the northern elevation.
  • In the 1880s, the neighborhood surrounding the Bachelor Apartments was primarily residential, as it had been since the 1830s and would remain into the early twentieth century. Most of the buildings were wood and brick single family houses. The Bachelor Apartments was among the earliest apartment houses to be built in Buffalo, as apartment house living (as opposed to tenements) was a new development in the United States. Modeled after contemporary buildings in Paris, apartment houses had begun to be built in quantity in New York City in the mid-1870s, and then spread to other cities, arriving in Buffalo around 1880. Apartment house construction accelerated considerably here in the 1890s, but the Bachelor was among the pioneers, and may be the oldest survivor. When the Bachelor was constructed in 1886 it was to be occupied by single gentlemen and was designed especially for this purpose. The original floorplan provided most occupants with a private bathroom (something not provided for in tenement buildings), bedroom and private sitting room. No kitchens were provided for because as a bachelor gentleman the assumption was that the occupant would eat out. A light breakfast could be provided in the gentleman’s sitting room upon request.
  • Although the brick has been painted and the windows replaced, it still retains the original form and many original interior features as well, including staircases, railings, sky light and fireplaces. As of the 1960 renovation the original floorplan remained intact with some bedrooms and bathrooms converted to kitchens. Further investigation of the current interior configuration and integrity is needed before proceeding to State and National Register nomination, as, following a 1997 renovation, a current interior documentation was not provided.
  • Sources:
    • Debra A. Mattice. Building-Structure Inventory Form. 1988.
    • Martin Wachadlo. Bachelor Local Landmark Nomination. 2016.
    • The Bachelor (Buffalo Express.) January 31, 1886.
    • The Bachelor (Mathews, Northrup & Co., Art-Printing Works.) 1886.
    • Elizabeth Collins Cromley. Alone Together: A History of New York’s Early Apartments. (Cornell University Press: Ithaca) 1990.
    • 1960 Floor Plans from Buffalo City Hall

Recent Events and Actions Taken

  • August 2014 - 'Sinatra’s BN Medical Campus Rental Group LLC purchased the building from Franklin Associates Management Co. LLC for $945,000, just under the $995,000 asking price' Buffalo Rising
  • December 2015 - A hotel and parking ramp project for the building next door shows a rendering that would demolish this building for a bland parking garage.
  • January 27, 2015: The State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) has determined that The Bachelor is eligible for the State and National Registers of Historic Places in the areas of social history and architecture..
  • May 10, 2016 - Update: The Common Council accepted the local landmark application for this building and TABLED it, effectively denying it.
  • October 1, 2016 - appears to be close to demolition
  • DEMOLISHED October 22, 2016

Other Pertinent Facts


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Added 2013-08-29 • Last changed 2016-10-23